Cultures Are Not Costumes

A. Hamby, IV Leader Staff

Licensed for Reuse by Wikimedia Commons

Halloween is my favorite holiday. One of the best things about it is the ability to pretend you’re something you’re not. I’m talking about costumes, of course. Halloween originated from the Celtic festival of Samhain. Townsfolk would light bonfires and wear costumes, because on October 31st they thought that ghosts would haunt their souls and their homes.

However, in today’s day and age, we dress up as a way to express ourselves or have fun. While most costume choices can be fun and light-hearted, some costumes take it too far by allowing people to dress as minorities.

This is often called “cultural appropriation.” Cultural appropriation is the adoption of elements of a culture by members of another culture. This is morally wrong when someone from one culturally dominant area dresses as someone from a disadvantaged minority.

A way to avoid this is by not dressing in costumes like Native Americans, members of a mariachi band, or blackface. Remember, this holiday should be a fun experience for everyone, not just one ethnicity. So have a fun and safe Halloween everyone!